Deone Bucannon

Falcons Sign LB Deone Bucannon

The Falcons have signed free agent linebacker Deone Bucannon, the club announced today.

Bucannon, 27, will return to the NFC South after spending part of his 2019 season with the Buccaneers. The former first-round pick signed a one-year, $2.5MM deal with Tampa Bay last offeason, but only appeared in five games before being cut. Bucannon’s play contributed to his release, but the Bucs also enhanced their compensatory pick selections by parting ways with the veteran linebacker.

After leaving the Buccaneers, Bucannon latched on with the Giants. He appeared in nine games down the stretch, and although he played on just eight defensive snaps, he did contribute on special teams (78 snaps). All told, Bucannon has made 57 career starts since being selected 27th overall by the Cardinals in the 2014 draft.

Atlanta lost linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in free agency, leaving Foyesade Oluokun as the most likely option to start next to Deion Jones. Bucannon, with his experience and ability to play multiple roles, should compete with Oluokun for playing time.

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AFC North Notes: Steelers, Ebron, Browns

Let’s take a quick spin around the AFC North:

  • New Steelers tight end Eric Ebron said he still isn’t fully recovered from the ankle injury that forced him to injured reserve as a member of the Colts in 2019, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Due to the COVID-19 crisis, Ebron hasn’t been able to meet with the Steelers’ medical staff, but an independent doctor did examine his ankle, and Pittsburgh has officially announced its two-year, $12MM deal with the 26-year-old. Ebron, who says he decided to sign with the Steelers largely due to the presence of Ben Roethlisberger, had a public spat with the Colts when he decided to shut things down last November. Now, he’s expected to serve as one of Roethlisberger’s top offensive weapons while splitting time with fellow tight end Vance McDonald.
  • After releasing veteran Mark Barron last month, the Steelers now need to find another inside linebacker to play opposite 2019 first-rounder Devin Bush, as Mark Kaboly of The Athletic writes. Vince Williams remains on Pittsburgh’s roster, and general manager Kevin Colbert says he’s “comfortable” with Williams as a starter (as he was in 2017-18 before losing snaps to Barron last season). Sources tell Kaboly the Steelers aren’t interested in Deone Bucannon, who remains on the free agent market, but the club could spend a draft pick on another ‘backer.
  • Free agent addition Jack Conklin is the Browns‘ best offensive tackle by a wide margin, but that doesn’t mean they’ll try to play him on Baker Mayfield‘s blindside in 2020, head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters, including Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com, via conference call on Thursday. Conklin, who inked a three-year $42MM deal with Cleveland after spending four seasons in Tennessee, has played right tackle for nearly all of his career (he’s lined up at left tackle just 68 times since entering the NFL). The Browns are reportedly open to considering Trent Williams (via trade) or free agent Jason Peters at left tackle, but the club could also target the position in the draft, where it holds the 10th overall pick.

Giants Sign Deone Bucannon

The Giants have signed former Cardinals and Buccaneers linebacker Deone Bucannon, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. The deal reunites the former first-round pick with James Bettcher, his old friend and defensive coordinator in Arizona.

Bucannon offers some dual-position potential as a safety and, despite the ups and downs of his career, is still only 27. There’s upside here for the G-Men and little risk as this is likely a low-cost deal.

The Bucs also had some hope for Bucannon after inking him to an inexpensive one-year, $2.5MM pact. He didn’t do much to replace Kwon Alexander in his short run, however, and saw just eight snaps through five games.

Last year, Bucannon finished as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded linebackers in a limited sample of 389 snaps. He’s still looking to reprise the 2015 season in which he broke out with 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.

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Buccaneers Release LB Deone Bucannon

The Buccaneers linebacker Deone Bucannon on Wednesday morning, as ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter tweets. Bucannon was preparing to face the Panthers in London this week, but he’ll now have to shift his focus to finding new employment.

Bucannon, a former first round pick of the Cardinals, might not be out of work for long. He offers some dual-position potential as a safety and, despite the ups and downs of his career, is still only 27.

The Bucs were hoping that Bucannon would pay off on an inexpensive one-year, $2.5MM deal. He did not do much to replace Kwon Alexander in his short run, however, and saw just eight snaps through five games.

Last year, Bucannon finished as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded linebackers in a limited sample of 389 snaps. He’s still looking to reprise the 2015 season in which he broke out with 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.

NFC South Notes: Payton, Brees, Quinn

The extension that Saints head coach Sean Payton signed last month is a whopper. Payton was making $9MM per year under his previous contract, but Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes that the offensive guru will now be pulling down around $13MM per season. That deal is one of the largest among coaches of North American professional sports, and it obviously will put an end to speculation concerning Payton’s long-term future in the Big Easy.

Now for more from the NFC South, starting with the other face of the Saints:

  • Drew Brees is throwing a football again, as shown on a video that the Saints star posted on Instagram. Brees managed to avoid a trip to the IR, and last week we learned that he is making progress in his recovery from thumb surgery. New Orleans is 2-0 with Brees’ backup, Teddy Bridgewater, at the helm, and the club will try to make that 3-0 against Tampa Bay this afternoon. Previous reports suggested that Brees could return for the club’s November 10 matchup with the Falcons.
  • Falcons head coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat, and Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk says an Atlanta loss to the Texans today could expedite Quinn’s ouster. After all, a loss would drop the team to 1-4, and with difficult games against the Rams and Seahawks following the Falcons’ matchup with the Cardinals next week, Atlanta could be looking at a 2-6 record after the first half of the season. Atlanta has three former head coaches on its staff — offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, and receivers coach Raheem Morris — and owner Arthur Blank may be thinking about putting one of them in charge to finish out the season if Quinn can’t right the ship immediately.
  • Greg Auman of The Athletic observes that the Buccaneers could be in line for a third-round compensatory pick to offset the loss of Kwon Alexander in free agency and a fourth-rounder to offset the loss of Adam Humphries. As it currently stands, Tampa Bay signed enough outside free agents to negate those compensatory picks, but given that some of those free agents are underperforming (or barely playing), the Bucs could cut them loose prior to Week 9 to put themselves back on track for the compensatory selections. That means that Deone Bucannon, Breshad Perriman, and Bradley Pinion could all be in danger of being cut.

Contract Details: Smith, James, Wake

The latest details on deals from around the NFL:

Buccaneers To Sign LB Deone Bucannon

Deone Bucannon and Bruce Arians will reunite in Tampa Bay. The sixth-year linebacker intends to sign with the Buccaneers, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

This will be a one-year agreement, per ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter), which makes sense given Bucannon’s struggles during his platform year. The 2014 first-round pick finished as one of Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded linebackers last season, though he only played only 389 snaps in Steve Wilks‘ defense.

The Giants, who employ former Cardinals DC James Bettcher, showed interest in Bucannon, but the Bucs and their gang of ex-Cardinals staffers will attempt to rehabilitate Bucannon’s career.

Bucannon started his pro career as a hybrid linebacker/safety and offers strong coverage skills. Thanks in part to injury problems, he has not been able to replicate his 2015 breakout campaign, when he tallied 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception. However, he is just 26, and he will attempt to reestablish himself in the middle of a Tampa Bay defense that is now without stalwart Kwon Alexander.

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Extra Points: Mathieu, Texans, Bucs, Bennett, Bears

It sounds like the Texans tried to keep Tyrann Mathieu before he ultimately signed with the Chiefs. Terez A. Paylor of Yahoo tweets that Houston offered the safety a long-term deal that would have paid him around $9.5MM per season.

The reporter notes that the Texans and Chiefs were bidding for Mathieu until the end, and Houston’s final offer was close to Kansas City’s. John McClain of the Houston Chronicle writes that the organization was (and, presumably, is) “willing to spend liberally” on a veteran safety, and both general manager Brian Gaine and coach Bill O’Brien wanted to keep Mathieu.

The safety ended up inking a three years worth $42MM with the Chiefs. The Texans have reportedly shifted their focus to other safeties, including Earl Thomas.

Let’s take a look at some additional notes from around the NFL…

  • Besides a safety, McClain notes that the Texans are also hunting for a pass-rushing “inside player.” The team could ultimately look towards the draft if nothing solidifies during free agency.
  • The Buccaneers reached out to linebacker Deone Bucannon, reports Greg Auman of The Athletic (via Twitter). The 26-year-old had spent his entire career with the Cardinals, and he started all of his 41 games between 2015 and 2017. He took a bit of a step back in 2018, compiling 38 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble in 13 games (six starts). The linebacker played with new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians during their stints in Arizona.
  • Following the Patriots‘ acquisition of Michael Bennett, there were some rumblings that his brother, tight end Martellus Bennett, would come out of retirement and return to New England. However, the Patriots’ new acquisition poured some water on the rumors this evening, saying that the whispers of Martellus coming out of retirement were “fake news” (via Michael David Smith of ProFootballTalk.com). After winning a Super Bowl with the Patriots in 2016, the tight end split the 2017 season between New England and Green Bay.
  • The Bears are expecting a pair of defensive backs to go elsewhere this offseason. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune writes that safety Adrian Amos is “close to having a deal in place elsewhere,” and it sounds like the team is already eyeing potential replacements. Meanwhile, Biggs notes that cornerback Bryce Callahan won’t be back with the Bears after they signed veteran Buster Skrine.
  • Before agreeing to a deal with the Broncos, safety Kareem Jackson was hoping he’d be back in Houston. However, the veteran didn’t receive a whole lot of interest from the Texans, leading to the player feeling “a little disrespected.” “They didn’t even approach me with an offer or any type of deal,” Jackson told Mark Berman of KRIV (via Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk.com). “Obviously, they didn’t want me back or whatever the case may be. I’m not really sure. My agent was never approached by anybody from the Texans organization, so I wasn’t offered a deal of any sort. I kind of feel a little disrespected to be honest about it. At the end of the day, no hard feelings. I had a great nine years here. This will always be home for me. I definitely appreciate all the memories and all the opportunities. I appreciate the fans and everything I was able to build here. I’ll always have love for Houston.”

Giants Interested In LB Deone Bucannon

The Giants have expressed interest in linebacker Deone Bucannon, according to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post (on Twitter). Bucannon played under Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher in Arizona and offers familiarity with his system. 

Bucannon started his career as a hybrid linebacker/safety and offers strong coverage skills. Still, the Cardinals have not been able to get much from him in recent years and tried to move him at last year’s trade deadline. Bettcher may feel that he’s in position to get the most out of Bucannon and the Giants’ front office is at least open to the idea of signing him.

Last year, Bucannon totaled just 38 tackles and one sack across 13 games (six starts). But, in the past, he has shown flashes of brilliance. In 2015, his sophomore year as a pro, the Washington State product tallied 109 tackles, three sacks, and an interception.

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Cardinals GM Downplays Trade Rumors

The Cardinals are reportedly shopping Deone Bucannon and Haason Reddick, but GM Steve Keim is doing his best to throw cold water on the hot stove talk. In a radio interview on Friday, Keim issued a general denial towards trade speculation regarding his team. 

One part of my job is to have dialogue with other teams,” Keim said said on 98.7, Arizona’s Sports Station (via the team website). “The one thing I won’t do, I won’t confirm or deny those things in public, I think you do those things behind the scenes. But it’s a lot of gossip, people enjoy it, it’s water-cooler talk, and a lot of stuff you’ll read is certainly false. Wednesday I woke up to three different names that were brought to my attention and those conversations never happened. So I would just say, for most fans, tread lightly, because very rarely are those accurate.”

It would make plenty of sense for the Cardinals to explore the trade market between now and Oct. 30. With a 1-4 record, the Cards are the current odds-on favorite to wind up with the worst record in the draft. The defense is in the bottom third of the league in both yards allowed and scoring, and the offense has failed to properly utilize one of the league’s most talented offensive weapons in David Johnson, so this would be the logical time for a reboot.

Keim knows this, and that’s why he is looking to preserve team morale without explicitly ruling out any deal.

Some of the names brought up to me will do nothing but bring a chuckle out of me,” Keim said. “You have to listen. You never know what the compensation is going to be. It might be something you couldn’t resist. You look back at the Heschel Walker trade with Dallas, you can never say never. … Sometimes, there’s a lot of procrastination, where you’ll call and there are a lot of conversations that go nowhere, unfortunately. But it’s part of the business and a fun one for fans to follow.”

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